Identifying Historic Paint Colors and Schemes by Making “Exposures” on Walls

Dates: May 16-19, 2013

Begins the evening of Thursday, May 16th and continues through 12:30 pm Sunday, May 19th

Location: Bethesda Church, Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Birdsboro, PA

Participation for this workshop is by order of registration and is limited to 12  participants. Early registration is advised. Participants must have professional experience in conservation or historic preservation, or have completed substantial study, and have a working knowledge of basic laboratory procedures and safety.  FAIC reserves the right to cancel the registration and make a refund to those not meeting these requirements. Information regarding inexpensive housing options will be sent to approved participants.
Registration fee: $450 for AIC members; $550 non-members.  (Fee includes lunch).

Course description
“Identifying Historic Paint Colors and Schemes by Making ‘Exposures’ on Walls” is designed for conservators, students, and allied professionals who work in historic houses.  “Exposures” are made by carefully scraping or dissolving paint layers, one by one, revealing earlier finish layers; cross-section microscopy of extracted paint samples is used to assist in the process. This workshop will present the materials and techniques used for making exposures.  Paint types and history of use, solubility of aged paints, preparing for paint-study field work, and identifying chemical and lead-paint hazards will also be discussed. The sharing of knowledge between and among instructors and participants will be encouraged.

The workshop will be held in Bethesda Church, part of the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in Birdsboro, PA. The church, constructed in 1782, offers a rich opportunity to study historic finishes. Recent paint loss has revealed a decorative scheme depicting marbleized panels and moldings that most likely dates to the late-19th century or early-20th century. Bethesda Church is located in the rural countryside and has no running water; in addition to learning about making exposures, participants will learn about working in a remote location with limited amenities.
The workshop will take place over four days:
  • Thursday, May 16 (evening sesion): travel to site in evening, dinner and participant introductions
  • Friday, May 17: introduction to site, site safety review, hands-on work, lectures: types of paints and paint removal methods
  • Saturday, May 18: hands-on work, gel making demonstration, lectures: cross-section microscopy and case studies
  • Sunday, May 19 (ending at 12:30 pm): continuation of exposure techniques; presentations by participants, wrap-up and travel home
-Participants will have a better understanding of the range of materials and techniques available for making exposures on architectural surfaces.
-Participants will improve their paint-removal techniques with guidance and practice.

Judy Jacob (National Park Service) and Kirsten Travers (Conservator and Paint Analyst)

For more information, contact:
Abigail Choudhury
Development and Education Coordinator
Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 320
Washington, DC  20005
Fax:  202-452-9328

SACI Florence